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UPSC Current Affairs – The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert

Great Indian Bustard Ekam IAS | EkamIAS
UPSC Current Affairs

UPSC Current Affairs – The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert

Great Indian Bustards

The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert has given rise to speculation that the endangered birds might have flown across the international border from India’s Desert National Park (DNP).

Features of Great Indian Bustard:

  • They are one of the heaviest flying birds in the world.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan.
  • Males and females generally grow to the same height and weight but males have larger black crowns and a black band across the breast.

Great Indian Bustard Ekam IAS | EkamIAS

Habitat and Distribution:

  • Historically, the great Indian bustard was distributed throughout Western India, spanning 11 states, as well as parts of Pakistan.
  • Its stronghold was once the Thar desert in the north-west and the Deccan plateau of the peninsula.
  • Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan (Desert National Park) and Gujarat.
  • Small population occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Bustards generally favour flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands.
  • In the breeding season (summers and monsoons) they congregate in traditional undisturbed grassland patches characterized by a mosaic of scantily grazed tall grass.
  • They avoid grasses taller than themselves and dense scrub like thickets.

Desert national park

Threats:

  • The biggest threat to this species is hunting, which is still prevalent in Pakistan.
  • This is followed by occasional poaching outside Protected Areas, collisions with high tension electric wires, fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages.
  • Other threats include habitat loss and alteration as a result of widespread agricultural expansion and mechanized farming, infrastructural development such as irrigation, roads, electric poles, as well as mining and industrialization.

Great Indian Bustard decline

Protection status:

  • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972.
  • Appendix I of CITES
  • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List
  • Appendix I on the Convention Migratory Species (CMS)

Great Indian Bustard status

Government initiatives:

  • Project Great Indian Bustard by the Rajasthan government with an aim of constructing breeding enclosures for the species and developing infrastructure to reduce human pressure on its habitats.
  • It has also been identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Previous Year Question

With reference to India’s Desert Nation Park, which of the following statements are correct?

  1. It is spread over two districts.
  2. There is no human habitation inside the Park.
  3. It is one of the natural habitats of Great Indian Bustard.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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